Monday, October 8, 2018

Jason Vs. Leatherface #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Let's hop back into our horror time machine and head back to 1995, where O.J. "The Juice" Simpson was on trial for double murder, Sliders was a young Eric Shea's favorite television show and New Line Cinema had the rights to both Jason Voorhees and Leatherface, which I guess made this comic possible and gave the fans something to chew on while they waited for Freddy Vs. Jason.  Yeah, it was a strange time that was full of heartbreak as Kid 'N Play disbanded, as did Oingo Boingo, but don't worry, it wasn't all a loss.  As I said in my previous review, it was also in 1995 where Alyssa Milano took her top off in Embrace of The Vampire, leaving me completely enamored with the actress well into the 2000's, thus my reason for restating it here.  This is Just For The Hell of It Mondays and today we'll be checking back in with Jason Vs. Leatherface with it's second issue.

Written By: Nancy Collins, David Imhoff
Art By: Jeff Butler, Steve Montano, Renee Witterstaetter
Cover Price: $2.95
Release Date: November 1995
Publisher: Topps Comics

Keeping Up With The Slaughters

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Now that we're back in 1995 and we've seen all the sights that the year has to offer, let's check out this comic.  First though, I want to remind everyone that when this comic came out, we already had nine Friday the 13th films and four Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies.  That means we had a ton of continuity...... Well, we had some continuity..... after Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.  Continuity kind of went right out the window with the sequels that followed in that series.  Speaking of, you should really go and watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4: The Next Generation.  Not because it's a good movie or anything logical like that.  No, you should go and watch it because it stars Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger and it makes me giggle every time that I think about that flick because we got two Oscar winners out of it.  Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, in the previous issue it seemed that the writers had just decided that everything the fans held dear didn't matter and that they'd just do their own thing.  Some might praise them for these actions, but horror fans love their continuity and I found their lack of faith disturbing.  While yeah, the last Jason flick had the main man body hopping and being sent to hell with a magical dagger...... and yeah, I get how they might have wanted to get away from that, but to have Jason become part of the Slaughter family?  (Sawyer in the movies)  That just seemed to go a little too far even for me, especially when we saw Jason spelling his name out on the wall and feeling a camaraderie with this cannibalistic family.  So let's check this out and see if the story continues down this path or if Jason comes to his non-senses.  

Explain It!:

Our story begins with Jason having a nightmare about the day he drowned in Camp Crystal Lake as a child and right off the bat this seems like it adds credence to what we saw in Freddy Vs. Jason...... you know unlike any of the Friday The 13th films, where the idea of Jason sleeping, especially after he became an undead "revenant" was just ridiculous.  You know, unlike an actual undead "revenant" because that's completely plausible.  Lousy horror flicks making me look like a nutjob.  Anyway, Cook wakes Jason from his nightmare because breakfast is ready and our day within the Slaughter household begins.  Of course, Jason doesn't eat........ you know the whole undead thing, so instead he simply watches the dysfunction of this family.  The only part of this I really like is Cook making Hitchhiker have to go and work at the gas station as punishment for playing with his food because the The Last Chance Gas is something that I feel should always be included when telling a Texas Chainsaw Massacre story.  Hitchhiker doesn't know when to leave well enough alone though because he begins beating on Leatherface, blaming the imbecile for his punishment and as Jason watches, he begins having flashbacks of his abusive father from when he was a child.  Oh yeah, this won't end well.  Hitchhiker leaves though and Cook begins showing Jason around the house and teaching him the tricks of the trade in smoking meat.

We begin to see the first signs of things not going well between Jason and Leatherface when Hitchhiker returns from the gas station to go collect what he calls "groceries".  You see, he tampered with a couple's car that pulled into the Slaughter's station for some of that Last Chance Gas and Cook has Hitchhiker take Jason instead of Leatherface to go collect the meat down the road.  Yeah, while Jason has formed some sort of kinship with Leatherface, it seems that our favorite chainsaw wielding cannibal has begun to feel a tad bit of jealousy towards the family's new house guest.  

After Hitchhiker and Jason return with the "groceries", Hitchhiker is all impressed with our hockey mask wearing camper and wants to show him his workshop.  There we see all the knickknacks and furniture that Hitchhiker has made from various body parts and while this might impress folks who just love themselves some gore, it's really just included as a way for Hitchhiker to start beating on Leatherface again.  Not wanting to be left behind a second time, Leatherface joins the two in the workshop and accidentally breaks one of Hitchhiker's chairs....... which leads to the beating........which leads to Jason remembering his abusive father again and another continuity problem that really just feels like it's there due to pure laziness.  Jason's father Elias, who isn't named here, is portrayed so cliche it's almost cringe worthy.  He's got his dirty A-shirt, cigar and his beatin' belt dangling from his hand.  Anyway, after what seems to be an endless beating, Jason's mother has had enough and takes a machete to her husband's skull.  Which wouldn't be that bad if Pamela Voorhees wasn't portrayed as a portly woman who her husband calls Doris.  Yeah, there really isn't much going on that's right in this book.

In the end, Jason snaps out of his formerly repressed memory and stops Hitchhiker from beating on his brother, which then prompts Hitchhiker to begin reenacting his scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where he cuts himself in front of an audience to show that pain isn't anything that bothers him.......... at least that's what he's going for here because I never took that reasoning behind it in the movie.  Surprisingly, it seems that this act actually startles Jason and as I give up all hope for this book, Jason moves in to finish the job, only to be stopped by Leatherface.  Family is still family I guess, even if they are assholes who beat on you and cut themselves to prove a point.  We close out this issue with Jason walking around the Slaughter home while Cook tells him about how he got stuck watching his nephews/brothers....... I'd go into a more detailed description of this, but eventually it would just turn into a rant and one thing that I've learned from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies is, you don't mess with Texas.

That's it for this issue of Jason Vs. Leatherface and at this point of the story it seems like the creators just gave up and because of that, I really want to as well.  We spent the better part of last issue really driving the fact home that Jason was this force of rage and murder and nothing else, only for the writers to turn around and start giving him emotions at the end and here the emotions are just thrown at you nonstop.  We have the undead brute dreaming, having PTSD about his childhood and even becoming started at a sight of violence.  If that wasn't enough to get a fan really pissed off, it also decided to rewrite what Pamela Voorhees' name was and what she looked like.  Nonsense.  The only plus to this series seems to be the care taken in representing the Slaughter family..........even though it's supposed to be the Sawyer family.  It seems that the creators could care less about the Friday the 13th series and really decided to make sure that they're beloved Texas Chainsaw Massacre characters were represented right.  Now that's only speculation, but it's how it comes off.  I still enjoy the over the top cartoony style of art because it seems to work for this story, but overall this is a very frustratingly boring and just plain bad issue.

Bits and Pieces:

As much as my twelve year old self wants me to still like this series because of how much it meant to me when it came out.  Looking at it through the eyes of someone who isn't just a dumb fanboy kid is borderline torture.  The story is boring and when it's not, it's just spitting in my face with the continuity flaws to both film series and if I wasn't a lifelong fan of these characters I would simply give up on this series.  Luckily, there is only one issue left and I think I can manage just one more, especially if it has a chance at redeeming this very annoying series....... I'm not holding my breath though.  


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